Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Sports

USF Bulls beat Villanova Wildcats 56-47 in Big East tournament, advance to quarterfinals

NEW YORK — It wasn't necessarily pretty, but this was exactly how USF has won 20 games this season: grinding out a slow, patient win with record-breaking defense.

USF jumped out to a big lead early and never let Villanova closer than five points, picking up a 56-47 win late Wednesday night to solidify their NCAA Tournament resume in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The Big East tournament record for fewest points is 40, and Villanova didn't get there until 1:11 was left in the game. Bulls freshman point guard Anthony Collins continued to show poise beyond his year of college basketball, scoring a team-high 17 to go with four assists.

USF (20-12) advances to play third-seeded Notre Dame at 9:30 tonight in the quarterfinals. Villanova (13-19) lost to the Bulls for the fourth time in less than a year.

The Bulls came in having won six of eight games to put themselves in strong position for their first NCAA Tournament berth in 20 years. A home loss to West Virginia on Saturday put the Bulls closer to the NCAA bubble, putting pressure on them to hold seed and advance to today's quarterfinals after earning a bye from Tuesday's opening round.

USF guard Victor Rudd came out on fire, hitting a 3-pointer and a 3-point play in the first 90 seconds. He added a high-flying baseline dunk and had 10 quick points to give USF a 12-2 lead six minutes in. The Bulls didn't let Villanova get closer than six points, closing out the half with four points for a 27-17 lead.

USF's defense, on pace for the lowest points allowed in Big East history, didn't disappoint, holding Villanova to 20 percent shooting — take away Yarou's 3-for-5 effort and the rest of the team shot 10 percent (2-for-20) from the field, including an 0-for-8 showing from leading scorer Maalik Wayns.

USF came in with the challenge of beating a team for the fourth time in less than a year — they upset the Wildcats in last year's tournament on March 8, then swept them in two double-digit wins in the regular season. Villanova hadn't lost three times to the same team in one season since Syracuse swept them in 1987, and USF hadn't beaten one team three times in a season since Charlotte in 1990.

It's the third year in a row USF has won its opening game in the tournament, but it's the Bulls' first trip to the quarterfinals. They lost to Notre Dame by 11 in South Bend in their only regular-season meeting. With its 20 wins, USF matched the second-best total in school history, matching the 2009-10 Bulls and two wins behind the school record of 22, set in 1982-83.

Comments
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 24

Tuesday’s scoreboardBaseballCalvary Chr. 8, Jesuit 1Boys TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, King 1Girls TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, Freedom 1...
Updated: 5 hours ago
NBA players talking a very good game in playoffs

NBA players talking a very good game in playoffs

Boring interviews have been a hallmark of sports for decades. The art of the non-answer was undoubtedly developed as a defense mechanism — and it was perfected by Derek Jeter during his tenure with the Yankees — but every now and again pl...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

PLANT CITY — East Bay senior Haley Murphy had to take a few games off early this season to give the flaring tendinitis in her left knee a rest.When Murphy did come back around midseason, East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez eased her into the fl...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballMariners at White Sox2 p.m.MLBNationals at Giants (in progress)5 p.m.MLBTwins at Yankees6:30 p.m.1040-AMRays at Orioles7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMCubs at Indians7 p.m.ESPNMarlins at Dodgers7:30 p.m.FSFCollege baseballIndiana at Purdue7 p.m.ESP...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Softball: Boca Ciega gets a shot at defending district champ

DUNEDIN — Standing in centerfield during her team's Class 6A-9 district semifinal Tuesday night, Boca Ciega's Mia Blasingane had one dominating thought: "We want Tarpon Springs real bad. I was saying that to myself. I want to see Tarpon Springs...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Softball: Alonso knocks off defending state finalist PHU in 9A-8 semifinals

PALM HARBOR — To get an idea of just how tough the competition is in Class 9A, District 8, consider that there has been a different tournament champion each of the past three seasons.All three — Newsome (2015), Alonso (2016) and Palm Harb...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

BALTIMORE – If the Rays were going to get rained out Tuesday, they were happy  the Orioles made the decision at a good hour, around 5 p.m."I think they probably did the right thing in the fact that they knew there's a bunch of rain coming,...
Updated: 7 hours ago
ESPN: Antonio Callaway tested positive for marijuana at NFL combine

ESPN: Antonio Callaway tested positive for marijuana at NFL combine

Former Florida Gators receiver Antonio Callaway's off-field struggles continue.ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday evening that Callaway tested positive for marijuana at the NFL's scouting combine.Former Florida WR Antonio Callaway -- who some cons...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning opens second round Saturday; time depends on opponent

Lightning opens second round Saturday; time depends on opponent

Game 1 of the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinals begins Saturday at Amalie Arena regardless of whether the Maple Leafs or Bruins win Wednesday's first-round series Game 7 to advance.Still in question is the start time.If the Bruins advanc...
Updated: 9 hours ago